Hinch, flawless throughout, saved brilliantly from the penalty takers Rose Tynan, Katie Doar, and Oliva Shannon as the home nation secured a thrilling victory in Birmingham.
Loughborough student Izzy Petter successfully buried her penalty as England ran out 2-0 winners after regulation time ended scoreless.
England – bronze medal winners at Gold Coast 2018 – with now face Australia or India in the final.
In a frantic first quarter, current PhD student Ellie Rayer’s mazy run and cutback almost led to the opener, but Holly Hunt couldn’t quite convert from close range.
At the other end, alumna Maddie Hinch saved well from both a short corner and the subsequent rebound as New Zealand enjoyed a brief period of pressure.
In the second quarter, alumna Laura Unsworth’s started a nice move with a clever rolled pass, but no England player could capitalise on midfielder Sophie Hamilton’s ball across the face of goal.
After the restart, New Zealand failed to break down a resolute England after Unsworth’s yellow card for kicking the ball away.
Back to a full rota, England had a chance to take the lead from a penalty corner, but the Black Sticks’ defence held firm.
As the game began to open up, New Zealand then had a penalty corner of their own, but Hinch cleared off her pads and away.
Heading into the final quarter, England had another numerical advantage following a yellow card for Hope Ralph.
Loughborough graduate Giselle Ansley came desperately close to giving England the lead, firing just wide from a penalty corner.
New Zealand’s goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon saved well from Ansley before the ball was scrambled away brilliantly off the line.
It may not have been Ansley’s day in front of goal, but it certainly was goalkeeper Hinch’s at the other end. Seven Loughborough-linked hockey personnel are now guaranteed at least a silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.